MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sexual assault cases are on the rise in the Grand Strand.
Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Horry County Police are investigating three separate sexual assault cases all taking place this week.
Officials with the Rape Crisis Center of Myrtle Beach said they have also received several calls this month.
“We’ve had five crisis calls to the hospital so far for the month of May. In April we had 13,” said sexual assault services coordinator Kathy Andrews.
Andrews explained the center usually sees an increase in these types of cases during the summer months, but the organization has seen a rise in Myrtle Beach in recent years.
“It’s increased over the last three years. When people get out, when it’s not cold outside, they get out, they walk the beach, they go to parties, they have cookouts, they’re mingling more and it’s just more people,” she said.
Andrews also explained sexual assault reports have gone up around the country.
“I think people are more aware, they’re coming forward, they think, ‘I will be believed now,’ and I think that’s why we’re seeing an increase in rape reporting," Andrews said.
Andrew urged visitors and residents to be safe, saying it’s important to always know your surroundings.
“When you’re walking around, be assertive. Hold your head up high. Perpetrators look for someone who is vulnerable. They look for someone who is looking down, not paying attention to where they are, fiddling around with the keys. So be cognitive of where you are at all times,” she said.
Myrtle Beach police also said if you ever feel like you’re in an unsafe situation or area, you can call them and they are always willing to do a police escort.
Myrtle Beach Self Defense also offers free self defense classes.
Time and locations:
Thursday May 16 2019
7 pm - 8:30pm
Surfside Beach Civic Center
829 N Pine Drive Surfside Beach, SC
Saturday May 18 2019
8:30 am – 10 am
2349 Dick Pond Rd, Myrtle Beach